New Chieftaincy Act to weed out frivolous destoolments
The Chieftaincy Act 759 of 2008 makes destoolment of chiefs a serious business exclusive to kingmakers with the consent of the chief concerned.
Mr Peter Owuadzi Mensah, Counsel for the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs, who made this known in Ho, said the practice whereby people destool chiefs by removing their sandals in public accompanied by slaps is no longer tenable under the Act.
Addressing members of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs at a workshop he said section 40 of Act 759 “makes it clear that except where the destoolment is accepted by the affected chief and subjected to an appeal, no chief shall be considered destooled”.
He said for a chief to be destooled, valid charges must be instituted against him before the Judicial Committee of the Traditional Council to which he belongs.
The Judicial Committee has to declare that the chief is liable to be destooled, and the appropriate customary practices for destoolment in the area concerned complied with.
“The provision has become necessary in view of recent developments in chieftaincy disputes,” he said.
Mr Mensah recommended to the Regional Houses of Chiefs to pass resolutions on “security for cost,” as provided in Section (1) of the previous Act 370 to compel parties in Chieftaincy litigation before the Judicial Committees to pay fees in filing their cases before such bodies.
He said such resolutions were necessary to make the parties to bear the cost involved in their litigations just as they would pay legal and other fees when they appear at the high courts.
Mr Mensah said the move would deter frivolous chieftaincy litigation and help speed up the adjudication of such cases.
Speaking on Act 759 and its practice, Dr Henry Seidu Daannaa Research Officer at the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture said under Section 63(F) of the Act anybody who deliberately failed to follow the right procedures to destool a chief commits an offence.
He said the offender would be liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than 200 penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than three months or both.
Such an offender in the case of a continuing offence would be subject to a further fine of not more than 25 penalty units for each day on which the offence continues, Dr Daannaa said.
“It is hoped that the provision in the chieftaincy Act would lead to more effective implementation and punishment of those who commit offences against chieftaincy,” he said.